Blake Ross Working on Parakey Web OS
What makes Parakey different from Desktop.com and WebOS, two companies that looked like they had a decent future during the internet bubble? Desktop.com had a full operating system inside Netscape 4.5 and IE 4. You could share file, folders, etc. with your friends, use online "AJAX" applications, etc. WebOS had a very slick interface, too.
At Desktop.com, we had a couple of problems making the product fly. The first was technical: it bloated the browser up to 32Megs and made it unstable. (Nowadays, I don't bat an eye when Firefox is hungrily consuming 250M.) The second was usability: the online experience just wasn't as smooth and easy as a local application. This was partly due to the lower connection speeds that people were using back then, but also due to the inability to seamlessly interact with local files. And the really big problem was the business model: you either have to charge the users, or figure out how to put ads somewhere where people aren't used to ads -- like in the application title bar. Ick.
So, "one interface, not two" is all fine and dandy, but I'll be interested in seeing if they actually make it work and worthwhile.